Attacker charged with attempted murder, assault

AP photo Law enforcement officers detain Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, N.J., outside the Chautauqua Institution, Friday,

MAYVILLE — A 24-year-old New Jersey man is being held without bail in the Chautauqua County Jail after being charged with second-degree attempted murder on internationally known author Salman Rushdie.

The attack took place during a lecture before 11 a.m. Friday at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater. A bloodied Rushdie, 75, was flown to a hospital and underwent surgery. His agent, Andrew Wylie, said the writer was on a ventilator Friday evening, with a damaged liver, severed nerves in his arm and an eye he was likely to lose.

Hadi Matar of Fairview was arraigned by Judge Marilyn Gerace. In addition, he is being charged with second-degree assault on Ralph Henry Reese, 73, who also was on stage with Rushdie at the event.

“We’re still piecing things together and looking at the evidence,” said Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt, who said his office is in the process search warrants for additional “evidence” in the investigation.

Matar is being represented by Ned Barone, Chautauqua County public defender.

Barone entered a not-guilty plea on Matar’s behalf during an arraignment hearing Saturday. Matar appeared in court wearing a black and white jumpsuit and a white face mask. His hands were cuffed in front of him.

Chautauqua Institution continues to move cautiously in preparing for Saturday’s events. The 2 p.m. Community Issues Forum and the 4 p.m. Chamber Music performance have both been canceled.

In addition, grounds access is limited to pass holders, those residing or renting on the grounds and staff. Service workers need to visit the Ticket Office for credentialing and a photo ID is required. “We ask for patience and understanding as we navigate this horrific event with law enforcement and officials,” the Institution said on its Facebook page.


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